Prosecuting law firm Nidel Law said that the plaintiff it represents, from Maryland, had suffered from dental fluorosis (permanent tooth disfigurement), and is seeking damages to cover ongoing dental work and pain and suffering. Her teeth are pictured.
Nidel Law and fellow law firm Paulson and Nace filed the suit on August 29, alleging that the “defendants marketed and sold these products, with no warning about the likelihood of damage to her [the girl's] teeth”.
According the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental fluorosis is caused by ingesting fluoride before the age of 8.
Nidel Law said in a statement: “While many in the public may have heard the claims that fluoride prevents cavities, according to the CDC, the preventative benefits of fluoride are predominantly when it is applied topically (rather than ingested) to adult teeth, after the age of 8.”
Science thus showed, Nidel Law claimed, that when fluoride is ingested by people under the age of 8 “there is a significant risk of harm, while at the same time there is no benefit”.
The company added: “The defendants in this case knew that their products contained fluoride and actively marketed these products to children and to parents for the use in their children.”
“The defendants failure to warn of the risk of harm from these products is unacceptable.”
The products in question relevant to the case include Deer Park natural spring water with added fluoride, and Poland Spring natural spring water with added fluoride, both of which contain 0.8ppm of the chemical ion.
Product meets FDA standards
Nestlé's Carnation Good Start infant formula and Gerber baby food are also named in the complaint.
However, a spokeswoman for Nestlé Waters North America told the US media that the firm believed the suit to be “without merit”.
Although Nestlé Waters sold a product labeled ‘with added fluoride’, it had levels of the chemical ion consistent with those established by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), she added.
But Nidel Law claimed that US guidelines on bottled water and fluoride were extremely limited, and the suit also accuses the companies of marketing fluoridated products to an age group that cannot benefit from it, placing them at risk.